Accrington solicitor to be judged by tribunal

First published in Accrington Lancashire Telegraph: Photograph of the Author by , Deputy News Editor

A FORMER Accrington solicitor is facing a displinary tribunal after being con victed of transferring criminal property.

Martin Wilcock, who used to practice at Alton and Co Solicitors, in Abbey Street, Accrington was found guilty of transferring the ownership of three hotels, to an offshore company at half the market value, back in September 2010.

According to the CPS, Wilcock, who had been a solicitor since 1999, was instructed to act in the conveyance of the properties, while the owner of the offshore company was under a criminal investigation.

The sale was a deliberate attempt to dissipate his assets and thereby thwart any action the authorities might make to confiscate these assets as the proceeds of crime.

The outstanding balance of the loan was then split three ways and Wilcock received almost £5,000, the CPS said.

Wilcock pleaded guilty to failing to make a required disclosure, under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, at Preston Crown Court.

He was fined £2,500 and ordered to pay £1,666 towards prosecution costs.

The Solicitors Regulation Authority, has now decided to bring Wilcock in front of an independent tribunal for bringing his profession into ‘disrepute’.

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However, Wilcock is no longer a serving solciitor and the company he works for no longer exists either.

A spokesman for the SRA said: “Martin Wilcocks has received notification relating to a decision to prosecute before the Solicitors Disciplinary Trib-unal.

This is an independent Tribunal which will reach its own decision after considering all the evidence, including any evidence put forward by the Solicitor.

“The Tribunal has certified that there is a case to answer in respect of allegations which includes that by virtue of his conviction and imposition of a fine.

"Mr Wilcock behaved in a way that is likely to diminish the trust the public places in the legal profession.”

A date for the tribunal is to be announced in the coming months.

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